If you are interested in the ever-changing political atmosphere in our country and around the world, then online political science degrees may interest you as well.
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An online political science degree program could give you the opportunity to learn how the government works and pursue careers that put you at the forefront of policy development and research.
Online Bachelor’s in Political Science Degrees
An online bachelor’s in political science degree program is typically designed to provide a solid foundation in understanding politics, power, and the issues our society faces.
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A select number of universities may also allow you to add a history specialization to your degree program in order to further your understanding of complex global issues. In addition to your core classes, you’ll be expected to complete program-specific classes. Most programs require around 36 credits worth of these.
Common topics of study in these classes are:
- American government and the Constitution
- International relations
- State and local government
- Behavioral and social sciences
- Comparative politics
After successfully passing the required courses for your political science degree, you may also be expected to complete an in-depth research course. This capstone course will help you demonstrate the skills you have learned throughout the degree program and will cover current, relevant subject areas.
Political Science Careers and Salaries
Political science is a constantly evolving field, and there are several factors that weigh into the projected career outlooks for jobs within the government setting. Earning a political science degree can help you pursue careers in a variety of fields of research, teaching, business, law, and politics.
Due to the broad nature of a political science degree, a background in this field can prepare you to pursue employment in professional, and often lucrative, careers. Many of these careers have the potential to make key differences in your community and society as a whole.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these are some of the careers that can be pursued after earning a political science degree.
|Annual Median Salary
|Public Relations and Fundraising Managers
|Political Science Teachers, Postsecondary
|Social and Community Service Managers
|Media and Communication Workers
|Market Research Analysts
|Public Relations Specialists
|Paralegals and Legal Assistants
While your specific salary will depend on several factors, including your location, experience, and education, there are many prestigious careers that may be pursued after earning an online political science degree. Many of these careers offer annual wages that are well above the national average wage.
Some of these positions require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to be considered, while others may require further education and experience. Whether you continue your education to pursue law or teaching careers or you work within business or public sectors, earning a degree in political science can help put you on the path to a rewarding, lifelong career.
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To further compare jobs and salaries in this field, you can view our list of the top 40 political science careers.
Bachelor of Political Science Curriculum & Courses
The courses required to earn an online BS in Political Science vary by program, but most schools offer similar core classes.
Here are a few courses frequently offered by political science bachelor’s programs and what they typically entail:
- American State and Local Government: This class explores institutions and policies created by state governments, counties, municipalities, and school districts.
- Environmental Politics: This class involves the study of how legislation in America and abroad relates to environmental issues like climate change, deforestation, and industrial waste.
- Foundations of US Politics: This course can help you expand your knowledge of historical and contemporary political institutions, structures, and systems in America.
- Global Conflicts: This course explores factors that cause or prevent interstate conflicts, including domestic politics and power imbalances.
- Introduction to International Relations: A class in international relations can help you gain a deeper understanding of global politics, the United Nations, and issues affecting international relations.
- Latin American Politics: This class compares political structures and conflicts in various Latin American countries, such as Argentina and Cuba.
- Modern Political Theory: This course provides opportunities to analyze Western political theory and learn how key theorists have contributed to current debates on human nature, power, and other subjects.
- Political Psychology: Studies in this course explore how psychological processes shape the behavior of politicians and voters.
- Politics and Film: This class provides the opportunity to examine films that convey political messages and government critiques.
- S. Civil Rights and Civil Liberties: This course analyzes Supreme Court cases that shape civil liberties and rights in America, like freedom of speech and voting rights.
Courses like these can enrich your understanding of domestic and international politics. They can also help you develop skills like critical analysis, public speaking, and written communication.
How to Choose an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science Program
In addition to ensuring that your potential college can meet your educational goals and budget, there are also several important factors to consider before choosing a program that is right for you, including:
- Accreditation: Whether or not your school is regionally accredited can impact you in a number of ways, including your ability to obtain financial aid, transfer credits, and employment. You may also want to look into specific program accreditation for your field of study as well.
- Student-to-faculty ratio: Smaller class sizes can allow you to get more individualized attention from your professors.
- Academic advising and student services: Some services you may want to look for are tutoring help, career and academic advising, tech support, virtual libraries, internship placement, and discussion boards.
- Self-motivation: Taking an online program requires a different level of self-motivation than in-person classes. Many allow you to work on your own time and at your own pace, but this also means you are responsible for keeping up with your own deadlines and carving out time for your classes and studies.
- Formatting and scheduling: Some programs have synchronous classes, which have required meeting times, while others have asynchronous classes which may be completed on your own schedule. You may attend fully online or participate in a hybrid mix of online and on-campus requirements. You may also progress through classes with a cohort of students or take accelerated courses.
These are just some of the things you may want to consider. It is important to research the schools and programs you are interested in to decide which is the best for you.
Admissions requirements vary between bachelor’s in political science programs, but some common application materials you may be required to submit include:
- ACT or SAT scores (if required)
- Official high school transcripts
- Personal statement
- Letters of recommendation
Also, some programs require students to complete prerequisite coursework before they can major in political science. For example, you may need to take American Government and Introduction to Political Theory.
Political Science Ongoing Education
If you are interested in pursuing a career in education, politics, or as a political scientist, a master’s degree in political science may be the next logical step after you complete your bachelor’s degree in political science.
Master’s programs in this field typically involve an intensive and nuanced look at American government and politics while stressing the importance of rigorous analysis. While courses vary from program to program, these are some common topics of study found in political science master’s degrees online:
- Critical Analysis of political systems and public policy
- Data and political research interpretation
- Strategies for professional communication in political environments
- Ethics, laws, and regulations surrounding politics
- Accountability as an Agent of change in Society
Regardless of how you choose to utilize your skills within the workforce, an online master’s degree in political science can help you pursue a professional career.
Online Political Science Degrees Accreditation
Accreditation is an essential component of choosing a reputable school to complete your online political science degree. By enrolling in a regionally accredited university, you are ensuring that the curriculum and programs offered by the institution have been evaluated and found to be meeting quality standards.
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Additionally, only accredited universities are able to offer federal financial aid to offset tuition costs. While there is not a specific accrediting agency that is associated with the field of political science, there are several important names that you may come across while doing your research.
To find out more about the accreditation status of your school, you can visit the United States Department of Education’s website.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
You may qualify for financial assistance that can help cover the cost of tuition, textbooks, and other educational expenses. The federal government provides several types of financial aid for students attending accredited colleges and universities.
You may qualify for federal grants or work-study programs. Additionally, the government offers subsidized and unsubsidized student loans. You can complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to learn more about your options.
Many professional associations and nonprofit organizations offer scholarships for political science majors. Some awards require applicants to write essays about political issues or historical figures. Other organizations consider financial needs, academic achievements, and other factors. Your high school counselor and your college financial aid office can likely help you locate other financial aid resources as well.
Political Science Professional Organizations
Professional organizations offer exclusive resources for members, like conferences, networking events, and volunteer opportunities.
Prominent political science societies include:
- American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC): This organization has a job board, hosts educational events, and gives annual awards to professionals working on political campaigns.
- American Political Science Association (APSA): This association publishes academic research related to political science, offers grants, and plans professional development workshops.
- International Political Science Association (IPSA): This global organization supports research and teaching on political science and hosts the biannual IPSA World Congress of Political Science.
Joining these organizations may help you unlock new career opportunities.
Is Political Science a Good Major?
Yes, political science is a good major for many undergraduate students. This degree can help you enrich your knowledge of American history, current events, and international relations. It can help you develop analytical thinking skills, research skills, and other practical abilities.
Graduates who earn a bachelors in political science pursue many careers. Some become political scientists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these professionals earn median annual salaries of $122,510. Many political science majors go on to attend law school. Lawyers earn an average annual salary of $127,990. Other viable career paths include diplomat, lobbyist, and urban planner.
What Can I Do with a Political Science Degree?
A BS in Political Science can help open many career paths. Graduates work in numerous sectors, including consulting, finance, government, law, and urban planning. You may use your degree to become a legal assistant. These experts conduct research and write documents for lawyers.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows they earn a median salary of $56,230. Some graduates use their political science degrees to become campaign managers. They coordinate political campaigns for candidates, organize fundraisers, and oversee staff. According to the BLS, public relations and fundraising managers earn an average of $119,860.
Is an Online Degree in Political Science Right for Me?
Choosing to earn your political science degree through online education can help you juggle work and family obligations.
Some of the common benefits of working towards your political science degree online include:
- Flexible scheduling and ability to specialize within your degree
- Advanced online learning platforms
- Access to extensive online research and library resources
- Virtual lectures and workshops with top political experts across the country
- Reduced cost of tuition at some schools
If you are interested in learning about our ever-transforming political atmosphere, then a political science degree may be right for you. Earning this degree can help you pursue a wide variety of potentially lucrative careers that can allow you to make an impact on your community.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Political Science Online Degree?
Most bachelors in political science programs require students to complete 120 hours of coursework. If you attend full-time and follow a standard 16 week semester schedule, you can typically finish your degree in 4 years.
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It may take you longer to graduate if your degree involves more than coursework. For instance, completing an internship or writing a bachelor’s thesis can lengthen your studies. Likewise, attending part-time will extend the time it takes you to graduate. Some online political science programs offer courses continuously in 8 week semesters, enabling students to graduate faster.
Is Political Science a Hard Major?
Some students may consider a political science major challenging, but the difficulty level of any degree is subjective.
Here are a few courses you may take and what they typically entail:
- Contemporary Political Theory: This class covers significant political theorists from the 20th and 21st centuries.
- Political Science Research Methods: This course teaches how to use qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to develop studies and collect data.
- The United States and the Middle East: This class explores how economics and politics have shaped America’s involvement in Middle Eastern countries.
If you enjoy studying history and politics, you may find a political science degree program fulfilling.
What Jobs Can You Get with a Political Science Degree?
Graduates can apply their knowledge of political science in many industries and roles. Some earn a master’s degree in the field and become political scientists. These experts research topics like international relations and government policies.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for political scientists is $122,510. Others pursue careers as historians after completing master’s or doctoral degrees. They may work for colleges, universities, and government agencies. Historians earn a median annual salary of $63,940.
Additionally, many political science majors become fundraisers for political candidates and nonprofit organizations. They make an average annual salary of $60,660.
What’s the Difference Between a Public Policy vs. Political Science Major?
Public policy and political science degrees prepare students for careers in the public sector, but they differ in several ways:
|Public Policy Major
|Political Science Major
Political science is a broader field with many potential career paths.
What’s the Difference Between an Online Degree in Political Science vs. International Relations?
Political science and international relations have different focuses and career outcomes.
|Political Science Degree
|International Relations Degree
A BS in Political Science can help you develop political expertise, while an international relations degree explores interactions between countries.
Is a Political Science Bachelor Degree Worth It?
Yes, a political science bachelor degree is worth it for many students. Earning this degree can give you the opportunity to study various social science disciplines, like economics and history. It can also help you develop a better understanding of the relationship between laws, politics, and social issues.
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A BS in Political Science is a versatile degree that may open up many job opportunities. Some graduates become political scientists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job openings in this field are projected to increase by 6% in the next decade. Graduates also often pursue careers as consultants, economists, historians, political analysts, and more.
Universities Offering Online Bachelors in Political Science Degree Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
A BA in Political Science is offered through the American Public University’s School of Security & Global Studies. The program is fully online. Up to 90 of the 120 required credits may be transferred. Courses are 8 or 16 weeks long and start each month. Concentrations include International Relations and Political Theory.
APUS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Arizona State University offers a BA and a BS in Political Science. Both programs are fully online and require 39 to 40 courses for a total of 120 credits. Courses are 7.5 weeks long with multiple start dates throughout the year. Potential courses include American Government and Politics and Political Ideologies.
Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
U.S. News & World Report ranked Eastern Kentucky University among the best schools in the country for online degrees. EKU offers an online BA in Political Science. Up to 90 of the 120 required credits may be transferred. Courses are 8 weeks long.
Eastern Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
A BA in Political Science is offered through Florida International University. The program is entirely online. The program requires 120 credits. Courses follow a regular semester schedule with start dates in the fall, spring, and summer. Potential courses include Introduction to Comparative Politics and American Politics.
Florida International University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
An online BA in Political Science is offered through Georgia State University. The program has the option to add a concentration in Pre-Law. Courses follow a regular semester schedule, with fall, spring, and summer start dates. The program can typically be completed in 4 years.
Georgia State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
U.S. News & World Report named Indiana University as one of the best schools in the country for online bachelor’s degrees. The school offers a BS in Political Science. Courses are fully online and in an asynchronous format. The program requires 120 credits. Courses are offered in 8 week or full-term sessions.
Indiana University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Liberty University offers a BS in Political Science. The program is entirely online. Up to 75% of the 120 required credits may be transferred. Courses are 8 weeks long with several start dates each year. The program may be completed in as few as 3.5 years.
Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
A BA in Political Science with an emphasis in Politics and Governance can be earned through Northern Illinois University. The program is fully online. Applicants must have an associate’s degree or meet general education requirements before applying. The program requires 36 to 48 credits, including a foreign language requirement.
NIU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Best Value Schools ranked Old Dominion University as one of the best schools in the country for online political science degrees. The school offers a BA and a BS in Political Science online. Courses are 8 weeks or a full semester. Potential courses include Introduction to International Politics and Intro to Comparative Government and Politics.
Old Dominion University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
U.S. News & World Report named Oregon State University among the best schools in the country for online bachelor’s degrees. OSU offers an online program that may be completed for a BA or a BS in Political Science. The program requires 180 credits. Courses are in 10 week quarter terms, with 4 start dates each year.
Oregon State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Pennsylvania State University offers an online BA in Political Science through its Global Campus. The program requires 123 credits, including 12 hours of a foreign language. Courses follow a regular semester schedule with start dates in the fall, spring, and summer. Potential courses include Scientific Study of Politics and Politics and Media.
Pennsylvania State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
An online BA in Political Science is offered through Southern New Hampshire University. Up to 90 of the 120 required credits may be transferred into the program. Courses are 8 weeks long, with 6 start dates throughout the year. Potential courses include The Legal System in America and Public Administration.
SNHU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Newsweek named Texas Tech University one of the top colleges for online learning. The school offers an online BA in Political Science. The program requires 120 credits. Courses follow a regular semester schedule and are offered in the fall, spring, and summer.
Texas Tech University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
An online BA in Political Science can be earned through the University of Arizona. The program requires 120 credits. Courses are 7.5 weeks long with 6 start dates each year. Potential courses include Foreign Affairs and American National Government.
The University of Arizona is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Louisville among the best colleges for online bachelor’s degrees. The school offers a BA in Political Science through a fully online program. The program requires 121 credits and may be completed in as little as 2 years. Potential courses include International Relations and Contemporary Political Research.
The University of Louisville is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Maine offers an online BA in Political Science. The program requires 120 credits, including 39 credits within the major. Courses follow a regular semester schedule with start dates in the fall, spring, and summer. Potential areas of study include International Relations and Comparative Politics.
The University of Maine is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
A BS in Political Science is offered through the University of Maryland Global Campus. The program is entirely online, with the option of some hybrid courses. Up to 90 of the 120 required credits may be transferred into the program. Courses are 8 weeks long with several yearly start dates.
UMGC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth offers an online BA in Political Science. Up to 75 of the 120 credits required may be transferred. The program also requires an internship. An optional concentration in Pre-Law is available. Most courses are in an asynchronous format.
The University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
EdSmart ranked the University of North Dakota as one of the best schools in the country for online education. The school offers an online BA in Political Science. Courses are in an asynchronous format. The program requires 120 credits. Potential courses include Global Perspectives and Politics and Diversity.
The University of North Dakota is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
The University of Texas – Permian Basin offers an online BA in Political Science. The program requires 120 credits. Courses are offered in full- or half-terms with multiple start dates throughout the year. Potential courses include State and Local Politics and Latin American Politics.
The University of Texas – Permian Basin is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Getting Your BA in Political Science Degree Online
If you’re passionate about politics and international relations, you might consider a bachelors in political science. This major can give you the opportunity to study the latest foreign policies and political conflicts. It can also help you gain a deeper understanding of the history of governments and political theories.
Graduates who complete political science degrees online often work as campaign managers, financial analysts, political journalists, and public relations specialists. Earning a graduate degree can help open more career paths. With an advanced degree, you might become an economist or lawyer.
You can learn how to transform a love for politics into career potential by researching accredited online political science programs today.